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Boom to Extend Its Network of Mobile Money Agents

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Boom Financial announced Tuesday that it is partnering with the World Council of Credit Unions to expand in emerging economies.

Boom, formerly m-Via, enables people to text each other money. The Palo Alto, Calif., company currently operates in the U.S. and Mexico. Customers can load cash into their accounts at participating retailers such as 7-Eleven and at Cardtronics' financial services kiosks. Boom works with CBW Bank of Weir, Kan., to open the accounts.

Many customers of Boom Financial work in the U.S. and send money to their families overseas. The WOCCU, of Madison, Wis., represents roughly 51,000 credit unions that serve about 196 million people. Among other things, it will provide legal advice to Boom.

"We're getting access to a huge network of what will become, over time, mobile money agents," Bill Barhydt, Boom's chief executive, said in an interview.

Customers will still transact over what they see as Boom accounts. What will change, though, is that their deposits will soon be made into WOCCU member credit unions in different countries.

Barhydt says Boom and the WOCCU will have further announcements in the coming weeks.

"This is a big deal," he says. "This is one of the most important partnerships that we have ever done. To make this commitment to them and vice versa is not a trivial undertaking."

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